Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for July 10th, 2010

Elsewhere in Latin America…

Posted by Charles II on July 10, 2010

Honduras is only one ember in a corner of the American empire that is smoldering.

(The script, in truly awful Spanish, purports to be “the owner/lover” of Mexico, talking about the fact that Mexico rose up in 1810 and 1910 and the government appears to be nervous about this happening again. The narrator thanks Mexicans for being passive, sitting in front of their TVs while he devours their country. The clip’s title means “Mexico is f–ked” and plays off of a recent ad by a wealthy consortium telling Mexicans to calm down. Via Al Giordano)


Panamanian banana workers protesting over a new law that weakens the power of labour unions have seized four police officers, according to the president’s office.

Hospital authorities said 102 people had been treated for injuries by early on Friday.

Last month, Ricardo Martinelli, Panama’s president, signed a law which limits the power of unions and gives companies the right to suspend the contracts of striking workers and hire replacements.

Nancy Davies, Upside Down World:

The people of Oaxaca swept away 81 years of misrule by the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) with a massive voter turnout for the election on Sunday. For all state offices—governor, mayors and state legislators—the Coalition United for Peace and Progress (CUPP) won more than 90 percent of the posts. CUPP brought together the parties of National Action (PAN), the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), Convergencia, and the Workers Party (PT), who decided among themselves which party would offer a candidate for which position on behalf of CUPP.

Gabino Cué Monteagudo of the Convergencia Party declared victory in the Oaxaca governor’s race at 9:00 PM Sunday in a speech delivered at the fountain of Siete Regiones in Colonia Reforma of Oaxaca City. He offered his thanks to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, previously of the PRD, who mentored Cue in their visit to every municipality in Oaxaca state; and to Felipe Calderon whose PAN joined the Oaxaca coalition….

According to data released by the National Council for Evaluation of Policy and Development (Coneval), 38.1% of the state’s population suffer undernourishment, and 68% lack resources such as homes or land. Poverty affects more than two-thirds of the population; 7% of all Mexico’s poor live in Oaxaca..

Maritza Stanchich, HuffPo:

As so many Americans gear up for Fourth of July fireworks this weekend, the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico roils from a brutal civil rights showdown unleashed by a far-right wing government, now seemingly hell bent on destroying the recent unprecedented victory of a two-month long student strike against privatization of higher education at the University of Puerto Rico. …

While the economic crisis in Puerto Rico–the worst since the 1940s, if not the 1930s-has been deepening for years, and the current right wing government has aggressively implemented a hard-line, unpopular neoliberal agenda since its broad electoral victory last November, it appears as if the recent UPR student strike victory has touched off a firestorm, with a police attack on peaceful demonstrators at Puerto Rico’s Capitol building on Wednesday injuring dozens, some seriously.

Kristina Aiello, NACLA:

After the violence [of June 2009, which “left 34 people dead (including 23 police), and 202 injured indigenous protesters, 89 with bullet wounds.”], instead of slowing down, the García-led extraction of natural resources has only accelerated, provoking at least 132 community conflicts with extractive industry projects throughout the country. Many participants in the forum from the Andean regions brought tales of frustration of how their communities have been or will potentially be affected by large multinational mining and hydroelectric projects, as well as the persecution they encountered after organizing in opposition.

As of December 31, 2009, hydrocarbon extractive companies have obtained 52 concessions from the national government for oil and gas exploration and exploitation totaling 322,000 square kilometers of the Peruvian Amazon, which covers 41.2% of the entire area. This is up from 7.1% in 2003. The concessions region includes 17% of Peru’s protected areas and more than half of all lands previously titled to indigenous communities….

By all accounts this is just the beginning.

Alex Main, CEPR:

…hope for improved relations appeared to be dashed two weeks later when President Morales angrily accused the US Agency for International Development (USAID) of financing groups opposed to his government. “If USAID continues working in this way,” he said, “I will not hesitate to expel them because we have dignity and sovereignty, and we are not going to allow any interference.”

Declassified documents uncovered by investigative journalist Jeremy Bigwood through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that, as early as 2002, USAID funded a “Political Party Reform Project” designed to “serve as a counterweight to [Evo Morales’] radical MAS [party] or its successors.” Though USAID has refused to reveal which political organizations have received funding since Evo Morales’ election in 2006, the FOIA documents point to possible funding of opposition groups that engaged in violent tactics and sparked an explosive political crisis in September of 2008.

Sure, some of the unrest is due to the economic crisis, which has closed the valve of immigration to the US, reduced remensas (earnings by immigrants sent back to the home country) which ameliorate the dire situation in Latin America, and a renewed wave of pressure on natural resources from the booms in gold and other natural resources. But a lot of the unrest is due to clumsy, self-defeating actions by the United States in clamping down on unrest, ramping up the drug war, and propping up corrupt regimes. The above is a small sampling of signals of unrest, and the only hopeful one is the departure of Ulises Ruiz as governor of Oaxaca. Whether this guy Cue can put things back together is another matter.


Posted in capitalism as cancer, Latin America | 2 Comments »

Trouble For The Catfood Commisssion?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 10, 2010

Has the plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare in the name of making Pete Peterson happy deficit reduction been derailed? Possibly — though I’m not holding my breath or letting my guard down.

Emptywheel reports that if Bob Corker means what he says — a dicey proposition, to be sure — then the Catfood Commission’s plan to destroy what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society is dead as a doornail:

Corker called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), the Democratic leaders in their respective chambers, to make a similar pledge.

“I think for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to say the same thing — that they’re not going to try to use the lame-duck session as a place to do things that otherwise would not pass,” he said. “That type of thinking, that concern about … cap-and-trade and other types of policies just feeds into this whole unpredictability issue, the issue of what’s going to happen in Washington. We need to move away from that uncertainty.”

As Emptywheel points out, that’s exactly when the White House was planning to execute the Catfood Commission’s plan to execute Social Security:

White House officials are working closely with the president’s new fiscal commission in the hope that the bipartisan commissions final report will provide Republican cover for the deal. The commission, due to report by December 1, needs fourteen out of its eighteen members to make an official recommendation. One hope of the deficit hawks is that a super-majority report could steamroll a lame duck session of Congress to act quickly, pending a more Republican Congress in January.

This by itself wouldn’t be particularly good news, but there is also this news that Earl Pomeroy — not exactly a liberal himself — is taking dead aim at the Catfoodies with his own hearing, scheduled for July 15, on how best to protect Social Security.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2010, deficit, greed, Pete Peterson, Social Security | Comments Off on Trouble For The Catfood Commisssion?

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